It’s been a year since the launch of both Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and sony’s PlayStation 5. Both have been critically and commercially successful, and remain in high demand today, in spite of the shortages. We take a look today at both of the consoles’ successes, strong points, and points of improvement in our PlayStation 5 Year One Review.

For our Xbox Series X Year One Review, check it out here.

Price and Hardware

Technically speaking, the PlayStation 5’s hardware is spectacular. But given the competition, it is hands down the inferior product compared to the Xbox Series X. However, PlayStation fans shouldn’t worry too much, as the difference is marginal, to say the least. Still, it means that the Xbox Series X has bigger potential compared to the PS5.

The PS5’s design is also not helping it. While it looks sleek and much more premium-looking than the Xbox Series X, its unwieldy shape makes it an awkward fit in living rooms and in storage. It’s so much bigger, hogging up a lot of space. And its stand – its stand is wobbly and doesn’t give much confidence in terms of its ability to keep the console stable.

However, the PS5’s DualSense controller is the highlight of this generation. The DualSense’s new haptic feedback was a feature that Sony banked on leading up to the release, and they delivered to the hype. Haptic feedback gave an entirely new dimension to playing video games. While easing in into the haptic feedback is easy and becomes second nature to the console quickly, it becomes very noticeable when a game doesn’t fully utilize it.

The DualSense has a glaring weakness, however. Compared to the Xbox Series X controller, the DualSense appears to be more faulty. There are many reports of drifting on the DualSense, as well as loose shoulder buttons. These issues never go as far as defective buttons or unresponsive input, but it’s still troubling that a year into the PS5’s life cycle, there are already a lot of reports of faulty DualSense controllers. That’s probably the price to pay for the DualSense’s innovations, but they are faults nonetheless.

There’s also the option to increase your internal memory by installing a new SSD inside it. While the process is much more effortful than how Xbox Series X owners would have to go through, having an extra SSD inside is very much worth it.

At $500, the PlayStation 5 is worth every penny you spent your money on it. With a diskless option, it even becomes a more valuable deal.

Game Performance and Optimization

Game performance and optimization, especially for first-party titles and Triple-A games, rarely have been a problem for PlayStation consoles, and the PS5 is no different. In terms of Triple-A cross-platform games, the PS5 sometimes provides a better experience thanks to the aforementioned haptic feedback. There have also been reports that it’s easier for developers to make games for the PS5, which could mean to say that the PS5 version of games is better optimized.

However, by and large, PS5 and Xbox Series X gameplay experiences feel mostly the same, with the same performance and optimization. Both consoles can run games on 4K at 60FPS, which is the baseline for gaming nowadays. And as far as performance is concerned, it mostly boils down to the developers.

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Console Exclusives

Both the Xbox Series X and the PS5 launched with a poor library of first-party title exclusives that could justify a day one purchase of either console. That being said, the PS5 still had a stronger release lineup with Spider-Man Miles MoralesDemon Souls Remake, and even Astro’s Playroom and Bugsnax. There are also a lot of reinforcements coming on the horizon: Final Fantasy XVIGod of War: Ragnarok, Spider-Man 2Wolverine, and a whole lot more.

In terms of what’s already here, the PS5 also flat out beats the Xbox Series X with offerings like Ratchet & Clank: A Rift in Time, and Death Stranding: Director’s Cut, and Ghost of Tsushima: Definitive Edition.

On backward compatibility, the Xbox Series X beats the PS5 in terms of scale, as the PS5 can only run up to the PS4. However, there are also PS4 games that have enhanced experiences on the PS5, making it worthwhile to revisit PS4 games on the new console.

With a whole lot of studios making games for the PS5 right now, the future is exciting for PS5 owners. The competition is also starting to catch up, but the PS5 is the true winner for the foreseeable future. Add to that the many PlayStation classics that will be remade by the studios Sony has recently acquired, and you have a formidable collection in your hands.

It bears taking note, however, that the PS5 currently has a lot of edge over Xbox Series X thanks to console exclusivity. But based on recent movements by Sony, this might no longer be the case in the long run. With games like Horizon Zero Dawn and God of War headed to the PC, PlayStation may inevitably turn into another Xbox Series X – whose games can be played on PC anyway, making the purchase of a PS5 much less necessary. However, it’s also demonstrated that Sony is much more reserved when it comes to bringing their exclusives to PC, compared to Microsoft. So for now, there’s nothing to worry about.

PlayStation Plus and PS Now

In a vacuum, PS+ and PS Now are both fantastic online services. PS+ provides players a growing library of games that keeps on growing every month. PS Now has an even wider library of games that is available for players to take on through streaming. However, Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass service really eclipses what Sony offers with their online services. For roughly the same price, the Xbox Game Pass simply offers much more value than either PS+ and PS Now.

That doesn’t mean that the PS+ and PS Now services are terrible and should be avoided. Far from it, no. Both services are worth the cash you put into it and are fantastic ways to expand your gaming library. If you have a PlayStation 5, PS+ and PS Now will still give you fantastic value. But if you had both consoles and had to choose only one, we’d stick with Game Pass.

Conclusion: The Verdict for the PlayStation 5 Year One Review

Considering all of its flaws, the PS5 is still a fantastic console that brings games to an entirely new dimension of gameplay. Its haptic feedback is revolutionary but is more of a nice to have than an essential. Still, the PS5 introduced a lot of improvements that will make other consoles feel lacking without them. With a strong lineup of games both current and in the future, the potential for the PS5 is very strong.

No wonder the PS5 remains hard to come by and still is the most highly-demanded console here and overseas. It’s the seminal PlayStation console and will surely be looked back to as a benchmark for future consoles to come.